Ex-British PM Hints Foul Play in FIFA 2018 Bid

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated foul play might be why the U.K. lost the bid to host the FIFA 2018 World Cup to Russia,  The Independent reported.

18365682686 e48c9ffa44 oFIFA has been embroiled in a number of scandals spanning years. (Source: Mike Licht, CC BY 2.0)The U.K. lost FIFA’s 2010 vote in the first round. The tournament will kick off on June 14th in Russia.

Cameron spoke to the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank on Tuesday evening and complaining about dishonesty in international politics, he mentioned the bid while listing examples. 

“Corruption was the blockage to so many of the things that we wanted to achieve,” the former PM said, according to The Independent.  

He explained that his government tried to help eradicate extreme poverty, “yet what stopped some of the poorest countries on our planet – like South Sudan or Burundi – turning aid money into food or healthcare or education? Answer: corruption.” 

“We wanted countries to help pull themselves out of poverty. Yet why are people in nations as far apart as Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela so poor when their countries are so rich with minerals? Answer: corruption.”

“We wanted to lead the world in great sporting events that bring people together. Yet how did Russia end up winning the bid for the 2018 World Cup? I will let you fill in the blanks on that one.”

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is no stranger to corruption scandals. In 2015, legal actions were taken against the association in what is described as fraud, bribery, money laundering between high-level FIFA executives and marketing directors of various corporations, in addition to bribes that allegedly affected the selection process for host countries.

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup bid, Qatar was chosen as the host country. An FBI investigation into alleged bribery is ongoing and has already resulted in the resignation of FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter. 

In addition, the construction of stadiums in the country was found to be fuelled by slave labour. Reports circulated of Nepalese labourers being forced to work long hours in extreme weather, and being housed in unfit conditions. However, FIFA has not disqualified Qatar, despite stating it has "fully committed to protecting human rights."